Famously known as the ‘Land of Five Rivers’, Punjab is one of the most culturally rich states in India. There are 22 cities in total and every city has its own exuberance with a touch of specialty. Punjab carries celebration in its name. The people carry love and hospitality in their every movement. And the state has an undying love for food, drinks, color, music and festivals.
So if you want to be on top of experiencing the true Punjab, here are the Top 10 things you have to do on your visit to this flamboyant state.
1. Indulge in the true patriotism at Wagah Border
With the history of India and Pakistan going way back to the Indian Independence, the sensitivity between the borders of these two countries is no wonder. And Wagah border is one among them. But it is more than just a border. It symbolizes patriotism of both countries at the highest level as well as the rivalry with a touch of pure drama.
Wagah border is located in the norther part of the border state of Punjab, Amritsar. The guard ceremony happens two hours before sunset everyday since 1959. The Border Security Force (BSF) of India and Pakistan Rangers (PR) showcase the tradition of lowering the flag ceremony. This is the most witnessed military ceremony which attracts people from across the world. The chant and cheers of ‘Jai Hind’ with a counter of ‘Pakistan Zindabad’ from the other side of the border gives an everlasting chill down your spine. So, this is the first thing you must do when you set foot in Punjab.
2. Take a dip in the holy waters of Golden Temple
Golden temple is located right in the heart of Amritsar and it also known by the name Sri Harmandir Sahib. The temple plays an important role in the rich history of Punjab and is a symbol of glory, heritage and equality for the Sikhs. This temple is so gloriously beautiful in its architecture. The golden walls and intricate designs attract visitors from all around the world. It stands magnificently in the middle of a pool of holy water, giving people a floating illusion.
The temple is open for all religions and castes. The surrounding water known as Amrit Sarovar, is considered sacred. People believe that taking a dip in this holy water will cure ailments and diseases. The architecture of the temple is a fine blend of Hindu and Islamic designs. The dome is made of pure fold and the ceilings of the temple are embedded with precious stones. The temple also serves free meals to 50,000 people on a daily basis and managed by volunteers. So, if you want to treat your eyes with exquisite beauty and a warm hospitality, visit to the Golden Temple in Punjab is a must.
3. Relive history at Jallianwala Bagh
Jallianwala Bagh is a garden and a memorial to commemorate the innocents who lost their lives in the killing ordered by General Dyer. The place is now a beautiful park for the public to visit and managed by the Jallianwala Bagh memorial trust. The memorial was constructed after Indian independence and inaugurated by Rajendra Prasad on April 13th 1961.
There are several structures still present in the park that shows the atrocities that occurred during the massacre. The walls still showcase marks of the bullets fired at people who tried to jump over the walls. The well where people jumped with children in order to save themselves from the firing are present. The place still lingers with thousands of patriotic souls and leaves one feeling sadness yet peaceful. This is a must do in Punjab.
4. Witness the Kila Raipur Rural Sports Festival
This is a sports festival also called as the rural Olympics is held every year in Ludhiana of Punjab state. The event attracts around a million spectators from all over India and more than 4000 sports enthusiasts take part to showcase their talent. Participants are from all age groups and this is the biggest rural sports event in India.
The various events include cart races, tug of wars, pistol shooting, kite flying, dog races, ox cart races, martial arts, kabaddi, athletic races and other acts such as motorcycle balancing, horse balancing, pulling heavy vehicles with one’s hair and so on. This massive event is witnessed by thousands of people on TV as well as live and it truly is a thrilling experience to be a part of.
5. Experience Bollywood at Sarso Ka Khet
This golden blooms spread across acres of land only reminds us of one thing and that is Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jhayenge (DDLJ). The iconic scene where Kajol runs was shot in this scenic place and there is nothing more Bollywood than this. You can find this mustard fields with beautiful yellow flowers on the way to Ludhiana, Punjab.
The yellow flowers against the bright green stems carpet is the perfect landscape anybody can ask for. As much as it is a trademark to Bollywood, it is a trademark to Punjab as well. Do not probably leave Punjab without visiting here. You should take a long walk in this field, interact with the farmers and simply enjoy the beauty.
6. Learn about the rich history of Sikhism at Virasat-e-Khalsa
Virasat-e-Khalsa is a museum on Sikh heritage located in the city of Anandpur Sahib. The museum houses the history and culture of Punjab in its area. The museum building is in the shape of hands offering prayers. It also consists of a auditorium with a capacity of 400 members, journals, magazines, music related to Sikhism, a flower building and a heritage boat building.
The roof of the flower building is in the form of five petals, and each of the petal depicts the life history of all gurus who attained salvation. So, Virasat-e-Khalsa is a must visit in Punjab if you do wish to know the history, heritage and culture of Sikhs and it leave you mind blown, making you keep going back for more.
7. Involve yourself in the creativity at Rock Garden
Do you want to experience sustainable modern art in Punjab? Well, here it is. Rock Garden is located in Chandigarh and is an open exhibition of displays. These many displays are made of urban and industrial waste like bottles, ceramic waste, bangles, tiles, sinks, electronic waste, etc. and was designed by former road inspector, Nek Chand. It is 40 acres wide and the showcase of massive sculptures and design pieces are mesmerizing.
The exhibition is divided into three phases of art display and each phase screams creativity and refinement. Phase one has a man made interlinked waterfall with terracotta and ceramic art. The human and animal sculptures are decorated with mirrors, tiles, bangles and tube light waste. Phase two houses a huge waterfall, miniature villages, courtyards and cultural programmes are held at particular months of the year. The last phase three has majestic wide space where installations of animals like elephants and camels are made of chiseled rocks.
8. Relax yourself at the Garden of Silence
The Garden of Silence is located in Bhagwanpura, Chandigarh. As the name implies, it offers a peaceful and calm atmosphere amidst green surroundings for a relaxing time. It has a seated statue of Buddha in the middle of concentric stairs and is a famous meditative space for residents as well as visitors.
The place not only serves as a calming environment for people wanting to meditate but also for people looking to get a quick workout. The garden looks entirely different after sunset, as the lights glow and it is soothing for our mental and physical self. All in all, the Garden of Silence might be a perfect visit after a busy day in this energetic state.
9. Wear a turban and go on a ‘Gerhi’ open jeep drive
While we all know how much a turban is part of the Punjab culture, how can you miss wearing one? Do not just wear a turban but learn the history behind it in Punjab, the morale within it and respect it gets outside. And flaunt your turban on Gerhi drive on an open jeep, because that is the way to do it.
Gerhi means rounds and it is called by the name because the route makes you go in rounds. This street is in the northern part of Chandigarh. Famous for its youthly presence over the streets, nothing can get more Punjab than this drive.
10. Savor the most loved cuisine in all of India
Do we all have to talk about this specialty of Punjab even? Last but definitely not the least, food of Punjab! Who has not heard Sarso da saag and Makki di roti? When you are in Punjab, the rule is to not be calorie or diet conscious. Because, no matter how hard you try, you cannot resist the tasty dishes this state offers. Punjabi cuisine is the most exquisite plate of food you might ever come across. They are the perfect rich blend of Mughal, Persian, Afghan and Indian backgrounds of cooking.
The traditional cooking and dishes are loaded with cream, butter, milk and a rife of spices. The parathas with butter and curd, the chole bature that can fill your appetite in seconds, rajma chawal, mutter paneer and the lassi will blow your mind. Freshness, purity and complicated cooking techniques are what this cuisine is made of. So, if in Punjab, do not miss out on their mouth watering cuisine.
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